Thanks to our supporters and partners, the United Nations Foundation is able to help the UN empower girls and women, improve the health of women and children, expand access to sustainable energy solutions, and much more.
Today we are kicking off a new “Supporter Spotlight” blog series to highlight the people who make our work possible.
Our first featured supporter is Andrea Riley from Lincoln, Nebraska, who is a Champion Leader for our Shot@Life campaign, which works to protect children worldwide by providing life-saving vaccines where they are most needed.
Question: What motivates you to work with Shot@Life?
Andrea Riley: I love having the opportunity to make a positive change in the world. Shot@Life is a great campaign to get involved with; they make it easy for you to make a big impact on children, families, communities, and entire nations. I also love meeting the amazing Champions that all have the same goal of helping save the lives of children around the world.
Q: What is your biggest accomplishment with Shot@Life?
AR: When I went to the D.C. office of my member of Congress (Rep. Jeff Fortenberry) and his staff told me that they already knew about Shot@Life, I wanted to jump for joy. That meant the work I had been doing the past few years (placing letters to the editor in the local paper, getting people to send in advocacy cards or email him, having in-district meetings, etc.) had not gone unnoticed!
Q: What have you learned from your involvement with Shot@Life?
AR: Much to my surprise and delight, I learned that even in tough economic times and with countless competing interests and nonstop partisan bickering, Congress has actually increased the amount of money given to global vaccination efforts. That is amazing, and that does not happen by accident. It happens when there is strong bipartisan support from dedicated constituents advocating in every state. In summary, I have learned just how impactful our chorus of voices can be.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
AR: Close the gap. On my first long distance race in 7th grade track, my coach told me “Don’t worry about beating all the other girls, just focus on closing the gap between you and the girl in front of you.” It took the pressure off, gave me a realistic goal to work for, and made running much more fun. Instead of being black and white, winning and losing, it’s about the importance of making incremental gains and holding on to them – that’s the only way progress is made. I find this is especially important with the broader and stickier problems in life, where change can be frustratingly slow.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to make a difference in the world?
AR: See above advice! Focus on creative ways to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be, and if one of those ways isn’t working, don’t sweat it, just try a different approach. Be constantly building and strengthening relationships – this will get you far. Also to have patience, because lasting change takes time, so celebrate every small victory you get along the way.
Q: In one sentence, what kind of world do you want to see in 2030?
AR: A healthy, peaceful, stable planet where people are free from preventable diseases, and all of the children are above average.